US natural food group Hain Celestial has indicated it plans to expand distribution of Ella’s Kitchen products into new markets such as continental Europe.
Hain Celestial has acquired UK kids food maker Ella’s Kitchen for an undisclosed sum. The company suggested the deal would be accretive to EPS by $0.05-$0.08 in fscal 2014, which begins in June.
Speaking during a conference call following following the announcement, Hain Celestial founder and CEO Irwin Simon said the company expected to grow sales of Ella’s Kitchen by taking advantage of a number of sales opportunities that have already been identified.
While Ella’s Kitchen has already developed a presence in Sweden, Norway and the US, in addition to its domestic market, Simon suggested that there was still plenty of room to expand into new territories.
“Ella’s Kitchen is positioned for a significant growth as we see opportunities to expand in Europe. There is no Ella’s sold within Europe today,” Simon said. “We plan to grow Ella’s Kitchen by leveraging our existing distribution platform and expanding it with a lot of other Hain products.”
In the UK, where Hain recently acquired the spreads business of Premier Foods plc, the company has a strong distribution infrastructure into which it will feed the Ella’s Kitchen line of premium baby food.
The group will also be able to ramp up production of Ella’s Kitchen products by utilising Hain’s existing manufacturing facilities, the group said. The US company already manufactures soup in the UK and has invested in improving its infrastructure throughout its operations, Simon emphasised.
“This year, we built two new plants and retrofitted three. We’ll continue to invest to support our growth… and plenty of capacity to grow, which is key to demand and the consumption of natural organic industry.”
Ella’s Kitchen founder Paul Lindley will remain with the business and Simon was quick to emphasise the cultural similarities between Ella’s Kitchen and Hain’s Earth’s Best kids brand brand, both of which where founded with the mission to “change the way children eat”.
Significantly, Simon suggested there are a number of opportunities for the two companies to share best practice and drive synergies.
“We’re pleased to have the opportunity to complement the phenomenal job our Earth’s Best team has done on the Earth’s Best brand and taking a lot of that intel to the Ella’s brand and vice versa on the Earth’s Best brand,” Simon said.